I wrote a few months back about my dd (now age 4) who is extremely attached to me and doesn't try new things or do anything unless I am literally by her side. I am still struggling with this. I'm trying really hard to accept her as she is, but I can't help but feel really worried, and wonder if I should be doing things differently.
We attend a preschool class twice a week. Having to be literally by her side every second is not only somewhat tiring, but it just seems so extreme. For example, we recently had a valentines party. While the kids sat at the snack table, the parents were up fixing them a plate of party food. I was about 4 feet away, totally within her view. She couldn't do it. She ended up getting food with me. Another example, if the kids need to walk up and get bells out of the box for dance time, or at the end of class, the teacher always stamps their hand, I have to walk with her. I don't get to sit and wait less than 3 feet away while she goes. I am the only adult doing these things, by the way. Those are just small examples, but it is like this all the time. Kids climbing on the jungle gym? Well, I'm up there with her. She won't play at a park unless I am literally right there.
I guess my issue is, should I be doing things differently? Should i push her more? Should i go ahead and sign her up for a class she takes without me? (although, I literally don't see how I would even go about that, I think she would run after me rather than stay). To explain myself more, I need to tell this story of potty training. I am a very, "let things happen when they happen parent" I always believed things would happen on their own when the kid was ready. I took this approach with potty training. As time went on, it just started escalating. She had ZERO interest and would not even sit on the potty and acted afraid of it. I tried very natural things, letting her go without a diaper. She ended up with 2 UTI's because she didn't want to use the potty or wet herself. From her 2nd bday to her 3rd bday, she literally didn't touch a potty. At the same time, she also started HATING us having to wipe her vulva area when she got poop in it. It became a constant battle. We had MANY, MANY conversations. EVERY single time the potty came up, she would duck her head, act embarrassed or ashamed (my interpretation based on body language) and say NOTHING. This is a girl who is very articulate and talks about everything. Finally, after her 3rd bday, we forced the issue a bit and she got rewards for at least sitting on the potty and getting used to how it feels. I finally realized that this couldn't go on, especially the struggle to get her clean after pooping. By now, her 4th bday was approaching. I gave her date that diapers were being taken away. The date came when she was 3 yrs 8 months. I was deathly afraid of another UTI, but was at the end of my rope. The day came, she did great and has used the potty awesome ever since, though she still has never pooped but at home, and we do sometimes "make" her go.
The reason I tell that story is because elements of the attached to me thing remind me of the potty. After my potty experience it really made me wish I had done things differently rather than letting the negative feelings surrounding it go on for so long. It made me wish I had started "potty training" at like 16 months before she could talk herself out of it. Like the potty, whenever I try to have conversations about doing something without mommy, playing with other kids, etc, she clams up and gives very similiar body language as when we tried to talk about the potty. My husband and have both said, maybe we talk too much and just need to shut up, but when there is an issue, how can I help if I don't get any feedback on it? To this day, I don't know why she was so anti potty. A big part of me says, just let it go, and let her get a little bit more independend on her own, but I remember the potty and start to think maybe I should MAKE things happen, you know? I am really struggling with the "right" way to handle this. I know I shouldn't do this, but it also makes it hard that her behavior is so extreme. Even the other quiet kids in the class will sit at the playdoh table and let their mom pull up a chair at the end of the table not right next to them. My dd will grab my hand if I go 2 inches from her body. No joke. It is hard not to compare her to the other kids, most of whom seem to have no interest in being with their mom. Many of them, when they need their mom, call her and don't even panic if she isn't right there, They just go looking for her. It is so hard to see how upset my daughter gets so easily. I can't imagine if she looked up and i had steppe outside or something.
I'm sorry this was so long, but I just want to handle this in a way that helps her, not cripples her, you know? I worry about this a lot.